A three-pronged approach to locating proteins, developed by faculty members Peter Berget, Jonathan Jarvik and Robert Murphy, is described in the magazine Genome Technology
Thanks to an approach developed by three Departmental faculty, locating proteins in cells has become less difficult. According to the article "Proteins on Location" in the January/February 2006 issue of Genome Technology, Berget, Jarvick and Murphy have "...cast a wide net in capturing proteins, describing them in objective terms, and devising computational tools to cope with the resulting mass of data."
The process began with Peter Berget and Jonathan Jarvik, both Associate Professors of Biological Sciences. Frustrated with the limitations of traditional epitope tagging of proteins, Jarvik and Berget developed the CD-tagging method. In CD-tagging, a custom-designed exon coding for a "tag" is inserted into the genomic DNA of a target mammalian cell. The cell continues on with its natural gene expression and function while the tagged protein that is expressed from the DNA is located. Images of the tagged protein are then captured using fluorescence confocal microscopy.
Berget and Jarvik worked together to expand the CD-tagging method further. They began by modifying the green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a tag, and now they have enlarged the CD-tagging method to include other fluorescent proteins and peptide tags.
Once the proteins were tagged, located and photographed, Berget and Jarvik collaborated with Robert Murphy, Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, to sort through the enormous amount of captured images.
Murphy processed the images through a software program tuned to recognize patterns among protein distributions. He believes, in many cases, computerized locating methods produce more accurate results than locating by sight. "...There are far more subtle differences in the distribution of proteins than can be appreciated by eye," Murphy remarked.The CD-Tagging Database